Researchers' perceptions of the ethical implications of pharmacogenomics research with children

Public Health Genomics. 2009;12(3):191-201. doi: 10.1159/000189633. Epub 2009 Feb 10.


Background: This paper presents the results of an exploratory qualitative study that assesses Canadian pediatric researchers' perceptions of a pre-selected group of ethical issues raised by pharmacogenomics research with children.

Methods: As a pilot study, we conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with Canadian pediatric pharmacogenomic researchers. The interviews were guided by the following themes: (1) benefits and risks of inclusion, (2) the consent/assent process, and (3) the return of research results.

Results: Issues about assent, consent, risks and benefits, as well as the communication of results were addressed by the respondents. Some issues, such as the unique vulnerability of children, the long term privacy concerns associated with biobanking, additional core elements that need to be discussed and included in the consent/assent forms, as well as the challenges of communicating research results in a pediatric research were not explicitly identified by the respondents.

Conclusion: Further consideration should be given to address the ethical challenges of including children in pharmacogenomics research. This exploratory study indicates that further guidance is needed if children are to be protected and yet benefit from such research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Pharmacogenetics / ethics*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Research Personnel / ethics*
  • Research Personnel / psychology*